Let's say you work at a magazine and sometimes people send you clothes to play with. And let's say one lazy afternoon you get a box from QVC. With trepidation and excitement you reach for the scissors to cut it open, fold back the cardboard, and see a black label with the initials "RZ" staring back at you. Let's say that behind the tissue paper is a shiny red surface that you think might be a slip 'n slide, just in time for Hurricane Earl's Labor Day weekend arrival, but in actuality is a trench coat. Intrigued and still scared, you dig deeper and find a small object made of iridescent sequins that you hope is a diva koozie, but turns out to be a beret.
Let's say later that night, you're tuning in to your weekly new episode of The Rachel Zoe Project and you see Rachel and Brad reuniting at a vintage store in Milan, where Rachel tries on a boxy leopard jacket and says something like it would be great for her QVC line. Brad, ever the thoughtful gal Friday, suggests she make it with detachable sleeves, so shoppers can have a vest and jacket in one! After all you've witnessed and touched today, what do you do? Rig up the hose and find a patch of grass across the street for the weekend's BBQ Now With Slip 'N Slide? Or do you absorb the day's enlightenment, stay still, and probe further into the minds that brought it to you? This time, we choose the latter.
Things We Learned About Fashion:
• Styling is like farming. Brad: "I’m going to be harvesting Oscar gowns while I’m in Milan."
• When begging for a dress, even for a celebrity for the Oscars, you must suck up to the label. Brad peppers his pleading voice mails with phrases like, "Rachel is obsessed with it." Obsessed like Beyoncß?
• If stylists can't find gowns for their clients for the Oscars, they'll be forced to go naked, Brad reminds us.
• If you're rich and famous, you can get away with wearing $35 furs. Kate Hudson arrives in Rachel's London hotel room wearing a very chubby fur chubby, which she says she bought for $35 in a vintage store without knowing if it was real or fake. Rachel hides how grossed out she is by this, and touches it anyway, because Kate's super-famous and has such a great complexion. In this day and age of bedbugs we'd have shooed Kate away in that thing.
• Celebrities don't always understand normal people. Kate and Rachel discuss how fashion isn't as frivolous as everyone thinks it is because "it's an expression of one’s self." Kate adds, "When you wake up in the morning, what do you choose to put on to make you happy?" Well, not our fantasy Burberry runway looks, like they might. It's more like what we can afford on the sale rack that also happens to be cute.
• “I think there’s nothing sexier than a man in a turtleneck and a shearling," says Rachel. What, she doesn't want to see Rodger's thick tangle of man necklaces spilling into his chest hair? Later, when she meets Brad in Milan, he has a turtleneck on, and Rachel says he looks sexy. "Is that weird to call Brad sexy?" she wonders. Is it?
• Shopping should be as dramatic as possible, like a play or suspense thriller. Instead of saying something normal like, "OMG this is so cute, look!" to her shopping companion, Rachel turns stone-cold serious, puts on a fur coat, and says, "Brad, something else just happened," like she just found out about a friend's divorce.
• Wearing boots with an evening gown makes you look cool, says Rachel.
• Donatella Versace is "like a gay icon," Brad says. "She's like the Madonna of fashion." We thought Madonna was the Madonna of fashion, and Madonna was like the Donatella of pop music, but whatevs.
• The Oscars aren't about looking sexy. Rachel often puts her clients in Versace, but doesn't find anything at the Versace show because Cameron Diaz and Demi Moore probably won't want to be in super-sexy cutout dresses with thigh-high slits for this event.
• Dresses disappear every day. Pretty much all of the dresses Rachel has wanted for her clients have gone to other people. Including, funnily enough, the Marchesa gown Rachel was obsessed with, which we now know went to Sandra Bullock, sans shoulder bow.
Things We Learned About Life:
• When Kate Hudson calls and asks you to divert your life to London to help her dress for the Burberry show and be her date to it, you go.
• Wear the white hotel robe every chance you get. Rachel has an uncanny commitment to the white robe. She never gets to her hotel room and wears her clothes. We almost felt uncomfortable when she entertained Kate Hudson in her room in full out-of-doors dress, we're so used to seeing her in a suite with the robe on. No wonder she feels she can't give herself to a baby — she's given herself to terry cloth.
• "If you're so tired, just take a nap," says Rodger.
• "Just because you're in England doesn't mean you have to become English," says Rachel.
• "I never miss a Kate Hudson movie. Ever," Rachel says, describing one of the few moments we didn't long to experience firsthand what her life is really like.
• People are different around their friends. You know how you might start dating somebody, and they're so great and nice, and then they introduce you to their guy friends, and suddenly their voice drops a few octaves lower, "dude" is their favorite word, and the conversation suddenly drastically digresses to topics like a bet made years ago about some dude sleeping with a fat girl? Rodger is all too aware that Rachel's personality "comes out a little bit more" when she's around Kate, which is actually a very nice and loving way of putting it.
• "Cute clothes distract Rachel, it always works," says Brad, who wonders, as Rachel blissfully pilfers the vintage store in Milan, if she's come down with "Oscar amnesia."
• If you can never be alone with your wife, just pretend you are! Rodger tells Rachel if she wears thigh-high boots he won't let her out of the house, implying he's in heat. Brad and Joey tell him to keep the verbal foreplay to himself while they're in the room. Rodger protests that he never gets to be alone with Rachel so he has no choice. "I feel bad for Rodger because he never gets to see Rachel without her gaggle of gays around her, and that’s gotta get annoying," Brad says, quickly noting that that's just too bad for him because the great Oscar harvest is upon them. However, this training is probably what's turned Rodger into the perfect reality-television character, who is totally comfortable perusing designer vibrators for his wife's anniversary gift.